What's So Special about
Are Antioxidants Important To Me?
by Scarlet S.
Did you know that when
we breathe oxygen, it interacts with certain molecules in our
bodies to create free radicals and that these free radicals
damage important cellular structures such as DNA and cell
membranes? Well, it is true and this damage may cause cells to
function poorly and mutate. Free
radical damage may lead to disease and aging.
We are exposed to huge amounts of free radicals from
pollution, and pesticides. Every time you breathe, you take in
millions of free radical molecules created by cigarette smoke,
radiation, and automobile emissions. Every time you eat, you
consume free radicals in the form of pesticides and
This is where antioxidants come in. Our bodies have a
natural defense system against these free radicals. Our immune
system creates antioxidants which are able to neutralize free
radicals and prevent much cellular damage. We also need
antioxidants from other sources such as fruits, vegetables,
nuts, grains, some meat, poultry and fish.
I bet you may recognize these antioxidants: vitamin E, C and
beta carotene (a form of vitamin A. Others include luetin,
lycopene, magnesium, and zinc.
There has been much talk about antioxidants preventing
heart disease which is so deadly that it results in an average
of 1 death every 34 seconds. The American Heart Association
says, ?Oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad")
cholesterol is important in the development of fatty buildups
in the arteries. This process, called atherosclerosis
(ath"er-o-skleh-RO'sis), can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Increasing evidence suggests that LDL cholesterol lipoprotein
oxidation and its biological effects can be prevented by using
antioxidants -- both in the diet and in supplements.? In 1993,
Harvard University researchers reported that supplemental doses
of vitamin E actually reduced the risk of heart disease by as
much as 54 percent!
While doing your research on
antiooxidants in your diet, be sure
to consider alkaline antioxidant
minerals, top antioxidant juices,
fruit antioxidant supplement,
rheumatoid arthritis antioxidants,
antioxidant fruit smoothie and food
with antioxidants in them.
And what effects can antioxidants have on the big ?C? word?
This is a question that all of us are dying to know since one
American in every three living today will get cancer, and one
in four will die from it. The National Cancer Institute says,
?Considerable laboratory evidence from chemical, cell culture,
and animal studies indicates that antioxidants may slow or
possibly prevent the development of cancer. However,
information from recent clinical trials is less clear.?
Selenium, an antioxidant mineral can help protect
against breast cancer. One expert, Dr. Gerhard Schrauzer of the
University of California at San Diego, stated, "If every woman
in America started taking selenium supplements or had a
high-selenium diet, then within a few years the breast cancer
rate in this country would drastically decline. And according
to a study by Dr. Larry Clark of the University of Arizona, 200
micrograms daily of selenium cut the rate of prostate cancer by
69% and lung cancer by 34%.
So clearly antioxidants are important for all of us to
strengthen and protect our immune systems and to help guard
against disease. Antioxidants may even help us live longer. The
theory is that if free radical damage causes aging,
antioxidants in high enough quantities should be able to slow
aging. This theory is advanced in one California study of
people aged 50 or older, where it was found that those "...
with a higher intake of vitamin C were found to have a total
death rate only 40% of that for those with the lower intake of
C ... This decrease in the death rate corresponds to an
increase by eleven years in the length of life." Even small
doses of vitamin C can help. According to one UCLA study only
300 milligrams a day can add 6 years to a man's life and two
years to a woman's life.
Antioxidants are made naturally by your body but
supplementation from food or other sources is needed. The
highest concentrations of antioxidants are found in the most
deeply or brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as
spinach, red bell peppers, raspberries, carrots, apricots,
pomegranates, and tomatoes.
Scarlet Paolicchi publishes Healthy Living Newsletter. She
is also an independent distributor for Young Living products.
You can visit her website at http://www.youngliving.com/scarlet